Christmas in Morocco is not the enormous celebration it is here in America. Still, since there are so many foreigners who call Morocco home, as well as an increasing number of tourists, the observance of the Christian holiday has become more evident in recent years. That's not to say that the country as a whole unites and celebrates the holiday, but rather that there are people living in Morocco who do. In addition to foreign residents celebrating Christmas, many hotels host Christmas Day celebrations for tourists. The other major holiday, of course, is New Year's Day, which Moroccans most definitely like to celebrate! So what are Christmas and New Year's Eve like in Morocco?
Although you're likely to see many Moroccan shops decorated for the Christmas holiday, they're doing it more for the benefit of the tourist trade than out of devotion to the holiday. The main streets themselves are not decorated, although there is an exception to this rule. The city of Marrakesh decorates its streets with orange trees since orange is the official Moroccan color of Christmas! You can also take a desert tour from Marrakesh on Christmas Day where you'll travel into the desert, ride camels into the dunes, and even stay overnight, if you like, in a desert camp!
Although they're a minority, there are Christian Moroccans, and they do celebrate Christmas. A number of Christian churches, scattered throughout the country celebrate mass on Christmas Day, and welcome foreigners to join the celebration. It's estimated that around 100,000 people in Morocco celebrate the holiday, and many of them are of French descent. Christianity is Morocco's second largest religion after Islam, so Christmas in Morocco is a public holiday. Christians throughout the country practice many of the same Christmas rituals observed throughout Europe and America such as exchanging gifts, decorating a Christmas tree and preparing a Christmas dinner to share with family and friends!
New Year's Eve
Moroccans celebrate New Year's Eve with the same joy and hope seen in most countries around the world. Just as people do in America, Moroccans have different ways of celebrating. Some like to party all night in nightclubs and bars, while others prefer to host private parties in their homes for families and friends. The main thing is to be together and having fun when the clock strikes twelve and the New Year begins! Many Moroccans make New Year's resolutions just as we do in America -- determined to improve themselves and have a fresh start in the New Year!
Good food is an important part of any Moroccan celebration. For those living in or visiting the San Diego area, one of the best places to experience the unique and delicious tastes of Moroccan cuisine is at Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro on 4th Avenue in San Diego. Contact us for a reservation this holiday season and enjoy some of the finest Moroccan cuisine on the West Coast!